CFP: Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (All day)


Call for Papers

International Conference: Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance


Date and Venue

May 16-17, 2013

Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands



Conference Theme and Issues

The use of social media and mobile communication technologies has grown rapidly over the last years. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, MSN, Blogger, ICQ, Blogspot, RSS feeds and mobile Internet technologies have facilitated a constant increase in the number of virtual networks. Research has shown that Internet and virtual networks give rise to personalised communities that exist both in virtual and real spaces. The spatial-virtual  intersection is prominent in ?volunteered geographic information? that is created by individuals who use geo-visualization interfaces (Google Maps).

The popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social media has spurred a demand for new forms of self-organising governance by citizens and forms of participatory planning. However, real two-way communication between residents and policymakers through social media is still scarce. Standard public participation instruments (e.g. town hall meetings) are outdated, unappealing, disconnected from residents' needs and difficult to fit into daily activity schemes. Hence, resident involvement in neighbourhood affairs and collective action are often below the potential given residents? willingness to contribute.

Whereas many recognise the potential of social media to involve new groups (e.g. youths) and offer new ways of communication and participation, there is little knowledge on the utility, mobilising potential and effectiveness of social media and mobile technologies in this context. How can social media supplement other participation forms? What about take up rates of social media-based platforms? To what extent do virtual platforms really affect decision-making and residents? approach towards local everyday liveability issues? What are preconditions and restrictions for effectively using ICT and social media in self-organisation? And to what extent do new practices require adjustments of theories of active citizenship, social capital, participatory planning and collective action? Finally, what does the growing criticism on Facebook and other social media teach us?


Aim and spin-off of the conference

The aim is to identify, present and discuss scientific research into and local experiences with the mobilising potential of ICT, social media and mobile technologies and ICT in the context of neighbourhood governance, self-organising citizens and participatory planning. We particularly welcome academic researchers who are willing to present papers that discuss the aforementioned questions. Delegates from local governments, NGOs, housing authorities and resident organisations can also attend without presenting a paper.

Our intention is to work towards an edited volume for a renowned publisher or a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.


Program and Key Note Speakers

A two-day program, with key note speeches, parallel paper sessions, and a plenary debate.

Confirmed key note speakers are:

- Jennifer Evans-Cowley is Professor and Associate Dean at Ohio State University. Jennifer has published several influential articles on Internet-based participation tools and the future of mobile technology in participatory planning. In a 2011 Planetizen article, she was recognised as one of the leading thinkers in Urban Planning and Technology.

- Rich Ling is a Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, working on the sociology of Technology. He has published several renowned books on the social impacts of mobile phones, such as ?New Tech, New Ties. How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion? (2009) and recently ?Mobile Communication: Bringing Us Together and Tearing Us Apart? (2012), with Scott Campbell. Only last month,?Taken For Grantedness. The Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society? came out.

- Martijn de Waal is founder of The Public Matters, a private firm studying the role of new media in the public sphere. He is also co-founder ofThe Mobile City, an independent research group that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life and the implications for urban design.


Abstracts and Papers

Researchers who want to present a paper during the conference are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words maximum to Dr Reinout Kleinhans ( The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 January, 2013.

Abstracts are reviewed; you will receive notification before February 1st. For details, see the conference website.

The final papers will need to be submitted before 1 May 2013.


Costs and Registration

The conference participation fee is ?225, - . A registration form will soon be available on the conference website. The fee covers registration, conference proceedings, reception and conference dinner (day 1), lunches and refreshments.


Further information and questions?

Please contact Mrs Christel Swarttouw-Hofmeijer of the OTB Research Institute:


Phone: +31 (0)15 278 3625


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